Daughter arrested for murder after mother killed in West Valley City house fire

Posted at 6:20 AM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 16:34:45-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Authorities have arrested a suspect after 64-year-old Kathie Thomas was killed in a fire at her West Valley City home overnight.

Police arrested the woman's daughter, 46-year-old Loralie Kathie Querbach, for her mother's death.

Authorities said Kathie lived in the home near 6946 W. Bonnie Arlene Dr. for nearly 40 years.

The first 911 calls about the fire started coming in about 12:30 a.m.

By the time crews arrived, the house was already engulfed in flames, with fire shooting out the front window.
Neighbors said they could hear screams inside the home.

Kathie's body was found in a back bedroom where she appeared to be trapped.

West Valley Police Public Information Officer, Roxeanne Vainuku said Querbach admitted to setting the fire.

"It was set in the upstairs level outside of where the woman who ultimately became the victim of the fire was sleeping," said Vainuku.

Fire crews also found a man sleeping in the basement and were able to rescue him.

Thomas' son, Daniel Thomas was in the house when the fire broke out.

"I turned on the hose and tried to spray the hallway so I could get to her and get her out," said Thomas.

Authorities said four other people were inside the home at the time of the fire.

Three of them, two adults and a child, escaped unharmed.

The other person, Loralie Querbach, is accused of setting the fire inside the house with the intention of killing her mother.

She is now facing charges of aggravated murder, aggravated arson and attempted aggravated murder, all first-degree felonies.

The woman's granddaughter, Ashley Block, said her grandmother let people stay in the home on a regular basis, rent free.

Block said Kathie had a big heart and did not want to see anyone homeless.

"She’d help people when they needed her. She didn’t let anybody be homeless. She’d help people with money even when she didn’t have money herself," said Block.

However, she said that sometimes led to questionable characters in the house.

Close family friend, Krista Webber, said the family wasn't surprised to learn Querbach was responsible, but it's still devastating.

"For someone to do that to their mother, of all people. The person who gave you life," said Webber.

The family says they're focused on grieving their selfless matriarch, instead of trying to understand why one of them would do this to her.

"We’re glad that she’s behind bars where she belongs," said Webber.

Police said they have been to this home before and neighbors say a SWAT standoff happened at the house earlier this year.

Authorities estimate about $150,000 in damage to the home.

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